Monday, July 26, 2010

Jack and the Very Busy Weekend

A few weeks ago Mrs Elliott and I agreed that we were spending too little time with each other on weekends, and need to play together more. And since we'll be apart for over a week starting Wednesday (her to SoCal, me to Montana), we made this weekend into a three-day one and enjoyed being in Bend, where there is plenty to do in summer. 

So this is the tale of three days of activity.

The weekend started on Thursday at the Bend Brewing Company. I rode my little red town bike to meet with a friend and slake my dry, dry throat with a lager and a Pilsner. Neither was Best In Show, but they were both very nice and medically efficacious.

Mrs Elliott, in the meantime, found a nice spot to sit in the beer garden in Drake Park for the free Munch and Music event (Eric Tollefson opened, Paula Cole was the main event). There, we chatted with a visiting couple who had just ridden their bicycles up to Mount Bachelor and back (her first time), had some fine healthy kiosk food, and rode our bikes back home.

Friday dawned early but we didn't. It being Mrs Elliott's birthday, we slumbered in bed, arising only to drive to the King of the Mountains summit for Stage 3 of the Cascades Cycling Classic (CCC) and park our '84 VW camper van ("Mellow Yellow") along the highway to cheer the riders on.

Jack, apparently not having learned a damn thing from last month's getting stuck in the mud escapade, immediately got the van stuck in the loose cinders on the road's shoulder, but was able to pull the van out by himself by using a technique perfected by the white middle class: by calling AAA. We waited until after the racers rode by so as not to add obstacles in an already challenging ride.

Freed, Mellow Yellow carried us to Elk Lake where Jack plopped his brand new little red kayak into the water for its (and his) maiden voyage. Mrs Elliott rented a kayak.

We paddled about 2/3rds of the way to the south end, turned around, and paddled back. It was beautiful (my reader will recall that Friday's weather was perfect).

Back in Bend, we had lunch at Jackson's Corner. I had suggested Parrilla but Mrs Elliott played the birthday girl card and trumped me, asking for Jackson's Corner.

As previously said, Jackson's corner is not my fave restaurant. BUT, that was the best Caprese salad I've ever had ... and I've been to Capri.

I was told that it was the balsamic glaze that did the trick. Clearly I have to learn how to make a balsamic glaze!

A Brief Interjection of Obligations. (or, Wouldn't it be nice to just run off and play?)

We made a quick pit stop at the house where we each took care of the things that people who have their own small businesses must do, like paying the elves, checking the emails, making sure the bank accounts haven't gotten out of control, und so weiter, then drove to the movie theater to see Inception. Pretty good, a little stupid, takes itself a lot more seriously than warranted, but interesting nevertheless. It requires paying attention to avoid getting lost. Didn't help that Jack was totally baked on some good local vape, but he managed to hang in there, though I was distracted trying to figure out how Juno (Ellen Page) became a fancy architect.

After the film, we went to the 10 Barrel pub on Galveston for dinner, but didn't end up staying for dinner: the wait was long, and truth be told, as much as Jack admires the success of the place, the menu is slanted toward good--even quite good--but overpoweringly large servings of pub grub without a lot of inspiration. I had a couple beers (the blackboard said the Summer Ale [which I like] was on tap, but the bartender poured the glass out of a bottle). While sitting outside on the patio, waiting to be paged to our table, Mrs Elliott wandered over to Brother Jon's, which has a tastier menu, and put our name in.

Chilling on 10 Barrel's (or anyone's) patio on an high desert early summer afternoon, with the sunlight mellowing toward orange and the people mellowing toward contentment, is a deep pleasure for Jack. A couple of amateur cyclists here for the CCC, owners of a ski shop in Truckee, Calif., had noticed the posters for the weekend's musical acts, all the restaurants and pubs, how welcome cyclists were, the high level of just-being-happy-to-be-here overall joie de vivre around town, and asked if Bend was like this every summer.

Now Mrs Elliott and I have been here for merely two summers before this one, but based on our experience, the answer had to be "yeah."

They asked about the winters, but living in Truckee, did not find our paltry snowfall to be offputting.

We had dinner at Brother Jon's, and I had mac 'n' cheese, while Mrs Elliott had the more sensible but less critter-friendly salmon on a green salad. One of the TVs was showing the Tour de France. I love this town.

Saturday, for me, consisted of a 9am to 2pm kayak course at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe. I figured that anyone who owns a kayak, plans to use it, but has no experience kayaking would benefit from a little how-to. The lesson was $65 and was worth every penny. By the time we were done, I was a much better paddler.

I rode my bike back home, stopping along the way at Newport Market to get an egg salad sandwich -- I was famished.

In preparation for the Great Big Trip to Flathead Lake, I needed to get some water noodles for cushioning between my new little red kayak and the lid of our little teardrop utility camping trailer. I ended up driving around town a lot to locate them. I tried (in this order): Big 5, Fred Meyers, and Rite-Aid with no luck. But Target had dozens.

During this time, Mrs Elliott was over at her studio on the SW side of town, working on glass art projects, making Saturday the only time we spent apart.

By the time I got home, there was only enough time for a quick shower then I had to head right back out to get in line for the Los Lonely Boys performance at the Bend Athletic Club ($16, a bargain).

Jack enjoys the "power trio" sound a la the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream or early Led Zeppelin and the Los Lonely Boys did it right with a Fender Strat run through a wah-wah pedal into a Marshall amp with a Leslie rotary speaker cab on the back for extra spaciness (that setup right there plus some serious chops on the guitar will get you a serious Hendrix-y and Stevie Ray Vaughn-y guitar sound). The bass player used an Ampeg SVT head with dual speaker cabs for a powerful and tight bottom end, and the drummer was tightly-miced and solid. It's amazing how much music three strong players can make. It's a huge fat sound. We liked it.

Even got Jack up to do the old white man boogie. Mrs Elliott started giggling.

Stupid girls.

Remember a few weeks ago when I commented that I had to see Mosely Watta after learning that they had won Last Band Standing? Well, they opened for the Los Lonely Boys. Mosely Watta (the band) was crisp and tight, with a very punchy drummer. Mosely Watta (the artist) gave a tight, polished performance, but here, again, we had a case of a high-energy artist trying to get a laid-back 99 and 44/100ths percent white audience to participate with call and response singing and dancing, but the day was still hot and the people in the audience weren't ready to get active. 

I see Mosely Watta as an indoors, after dark act. Unlike the Los Lonely boys, who benefited from careful close micing and careful mixing, the sound crew gave Mosely Watta only a couple overheads above the drums and one on the kick drum, and just a rough mix, so the sound was diffuse and less present than with the headliner.

Them's is the breaks when you're the opening act. 


AND FINALLY, Sunday.

Before the day heated up, I got up early to tinker with mounting the kayak atop the trailer . . . I'm not real happy with the setup, but will sort it out. Tinkering with trailers under a full sun on a hot day can permanently cripple a man's brain and cause him to vote Republican, so I made sure to get it over with as soon as I could. All it needed was a trip to Ace Hardware to obtain the needed strappage and hookage to effectively (but not elegantly) clamp the kayak to the trailer lid. After just a few minute's work, my official Work For The Weekend(TM) was done.

Around noon, we strapped my little red kayak atop Mrs Elliott's Subaru Outback (yeah, I know it's a stereotype, but I find that car to be perfectly sensible for Mrs Elliott to drive around here), stuffed a little inflatable caravelle into the back of the car, poured 2/3rds of a well-balanced Washington state dry riesling (a fine value at Fred Meyer) into a vacuum flask, and headed out to ride the river.

And it was lovely.

My reader may recall that I recently wrote that I have never been very comfortable on water, and that our trip of a couple weeks ago had been pretty stressful for me. By contrast, on this float I paddled across the river, explored some creepy old timbers with nasty horrible rusty coils of cable and pointy spikey shafts just under the water, poked around some reeds, drifted silently by bird nesting grounds,  paddled upstream, steered around the considerable crowd of floaters and rafters, avoiding ramming anyone, and found my way in and out of the crowd back to Mrs Elliott. It was easy, relaxing, and enjoyable.

The difference was, of course, Saturday's kayaking class. 

Mrs Elliott, on the other hand, totally gave up on the caravelle's crappy little oars for any control over the vessel and just raised her parasol and floated, trusting in me to keep her moving and safe.

"Kick back," I told her. Enjoy the day; 
I'm enjoying paddling, you just relax and watch the sky.
(Photo (c) 2010, Malia Ward)
At the Colorado Ave dam, I helped her to the put-out spot and managed to get out out the kayak with no assistance (getting out of a kayak is not trivial with an iron knee on one leg and a frozen ankle joint on the other!), did 70% of the hauling of the two watercraft around the dam (a-hem*), and then, after re-launching, had Mrs Elliott tie her boat to my kayak so I could tow her.

She watched the sky, I brought us down to Mirror Pond.

By the time we put out, the day was overcast, which confounded the National Weather Service's projection of a high of 95 (F). Probably no warmer than 85.

Mrs Elliott, not having partaken of the wine, caught the Ride the River bus back to Riverbend Park to fetch her car. While I was waiting a woman in a small pickup truck stopped to say, "I like your coolie hat!" (I wear a superbly-practical though dorky-looking sampan hat when floating or otherwise under sun because it's the best hat ever for keeping a head cool and sun off the face).

NB: My amazing daughter bought the hat for me at Comic-Con in San Diego a couple years ago: sending love out to you, Beth!

The woman said that she had noticed the hat when we were floating, and that we (Mrs Elliott and I) had a rickshaw thing going what with me towing her. It probably did look like that.

But when the woman pointedly pointed out that I had sent Mrs Elliott up for the car while I was lazing away the afternoon in the park, I felt the need to vigorously defend myself and explained that due to the half a bottle of wine I had consumed on the river I was, obviously and therefore, QED, if you will, the less-preferential motor vehicle operator, and besides, the missus has to do something more than just sprawl under a parasol.

Jack is not used to strangers initiating conversation with him. Wearing a coolie hat in SoCal doesn't cause people to say, awesome hat, where'd you get it? and otherwise find a hat a sufficient reason to speak to a stranger. Not in my experience, anyway. But It's Different In Oregon.

Mrs Elliott shortly arrived in the car, and once the kayak was lashed atop it I got a little sushi (and a Mirror Pond ale . . . okay, two Mirror Pond ales) at Five Fusion, while Mrs Elliott sought gifts for her sisters, whom she will be seeing in SoCal.

Well ... that was a lot of writing. The main point here is that we had a very busy and active weekend. We played together as planned, and I believe that in kayaking, I have found a second activity every bit as pleasant for me as bicycling.

I don't know if I'll be able to post anything until I return from Flathead Lake. The cabin only has dial-up access, and I've a lot still to do before my departure.

============
* A-hem indeed. Mrs Elliott pays a trainer to keep her fit. I'm going to have words with her. If Mrs Elliott cannot carry 30 lbs (1/2 the weight of the two vessels & our stuff) 120 meters then the trainer is not earning her keep. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holy Shit! cosmetic surgery; and Blondes Laugh at Nerds

Holy shit!
Something far more common in Los Angeles than in Bend is totally freaky cosmetic surgery. I don't know who that woman was who Mrs Elliott and I saw at last night's Ottmar Liebert performance, but she was scary.

Not as scary as the woman on the left, but she'd had a lot of work done on her, and was heading in the same direction.

Cripes.

IN OTHER NEWS, a couple nights ago I'm laying in bed, reading a book, with reading glasses on, minding my own damn business, when Mrs Elliott, head on pillow next to me, starts giggling.

"What are you laughing at?"

"You," she said. "Blondes laugh at nerds."

Stupid girls.

Ottmar Liebert at Tower, Berry-Picking?

It's Mrs Elliott's birthday this week. Having a fondness for Ottmar Liebert's albums of the '90s, the birthday girl wanted to see him perform. So we went, we saw. I dozed.

Not the man's fault -- he's a talented guitarist -- but he is, in my humble opinion, let down by his accompanists, the lifeless Luna Negra.

Luna Negra 20-year veteran bassist Joe Gagan is an accomplished musician with good technical chops, but aside from providing the occasional lightweight bass solo and a few new-agey spacey keyboard chords during song intros and outros, he didn't do much that could not be described simply as pleasant.

The drummer was the real anchor of the group. And I'm not using the word "anchor" to mean that he provided a solid foundation, I'm using it in a more literal sense: a dead weight. I didn't catch his name, the man might be new, but he dragged the music down with his unimaginative, dull dull dull slogging on the drums. The drumkit sounded heavy and out of place with the faster, more aggressive guitar playing, and sucked the energy out of many of the tunes. I found myself actually growing angry at his lackluster drumming.

When you take the grit and sinew out of flamenco, let the fire in the boiler die, tie what's left to a stone and toss it into a lake, it takes a better musician than Leibert to keep the musical ship afloat.

It went under midway through the first set for Jack.

But they did close with Mrs Elliott's favorite Liebert tune. I leaned over, "I asked them to play it for your birthday." "Shut up," she replied fondly.

Berry Picking Season? Last year we drove to the valley to pick berries, but came late in the season for blueberries. Even so, while I sat in the car with a cast on my foot, Mrs Elliott had fun picking. This year we want to go earlier, and Mrs Elliott has her hopes on scoring boysenberries or marionberries* or whatever kind of "seed bomb"** berries she can score. Problem is, we don't know where to go and when is best. Jack's a pretty good Google pilot but can't find any clear answers.

Can anyone help?

===============
Marion Berry
* No, not that Marion Berry.

** Raspberries, blackberries, whatever -- they all leave massive seed shrapnel between Jack's teeth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mellow Yellow got Boo-Boos

I'm sitting in the kitchen when I hear a loud "ka-BLOOWIE" out on the street.

"Jumping Jehosophat," I exclaimed. "That sounded like it was right in front of the house! I better go see what happened."

What happened was a Pontiac Bonneville driven by a COCC student hurrying down our street swerved to the right to avoid an oncoming car. By doing so, he hit the driver's side rear of a 1975 VW bus parked along the curb, driving the bus over the curb, into our driveway, and striking my 1984 VW camper van, Mellow Yellow.

No one was hurt. The driver was plenty apologetic. His dad showed up after a bit and he was plenty apologetic. The driver had insurance. The owner of the bus that he hit had insurance. I have insurance. The police wrote up a report, citing the boy for careless driving.

The Bonneville and the 1975 bus were hauled away on two flatbeds.

A good time was had by all.

I'll have Mellow Yellow inspected tomorrow to make sure the damage isn't more than cosmetic. Probably need the wheels aligned because the impact from the VW bus pushed the rear of Mellow Yellow sideways at least three feet.

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones back in Bend

Fans of Bela Fleck will be pleased to hear that he and the Flecktones will be playing in Bend for a concert benefiting KPOV 106.7 on December 8th. These guys have won eleven Grammy awards in categories ranging from jazz and pop to gospel and classical to bluegrass and country. I attended their concert at the Tower in 2008 and it was one of the most amazing musical events I've ever heard. Read all about it here.

And fans of throat-singing (and, really, who isn't a fan?) will also be pleased that Alash, an ensemble from Tuva,* will be the opening act.


=========
* Yeah, really, I know! Where is Tuva? Let's see what the Wikipedia tells us:
Oh -- there it is!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mardi Gras rumors...

... a family-oriented, traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras in 2011?

I have heard that someone in Bend who knows that "tits-and-drinking-until-you're-shitfaced" is not what Mardi Gras is all about is planning an event in Bend in February '11. There will be music.

You heard it here first. In case I am not mistaken, start collecting purple, green, and gold attire. 

Trip Preparation and Rafting

Summer was festing downtown this past weekend, but Jack is getting ready for a trip to Montana -- Flathead Lake, to be precise -- to take a "mancation" with some guys.

The  Urban Dictionary defines "mancation" as:

1.mancation

When normal males engage in "guy" activities that
involve sports, camping, gambling, chasing women
and most of all drinking amongst their all and only
male friends. No wives, mistresses or girlfiends allowed.
Done in order ot get in touch with their male-primal
roots.
Usage: Jack and I hiked 25 miles to trout fish in the
Sierras. With many beers and stories, it made for
the perfect Mancation.
We are none of us spry enough to be chasing women, but the part about being without "wives, mistresses or girlfriends" is appealing; and there will be fishing. Or "fishin'" -- I don't know. One of the guys fly fishes and I'm not certain if the "g" is dropped, good-ole-boy style if you fly-fish. I know it's dropped when bass fishing, 'cause I've seen those fishing shows on the Outdoors channel.

The trip to Montana is at the end of this month and I plan to drive my VW camper van. I'll camp two nights on the way, and the van will provide airport shuttle, shopping, and excursion service while there.

So with Mrs Elliott out of town on Saturday, I used that time to service and tinker with the van and camping rig. Checked the brakes, installed a dash fan for cooling (the van has no air conditioning and the trip to Montana will be through some potentially hot areas), sorted out an issue with the lights that indicate the water level in the drinking water tank, mounted new lid latches on the little trailer, and other stuff, like cleaning out the garage, sweeping the floor. It was a productive day, and I felt good with the amount I accomplished.

Mrs Elliott was back home at 11:20 pm. I stayed up for her, but I figure if she's gonna book flights that get to RDM after 9 o' clock she's going to have to drive her own self home.

Yesterday dawned early, bright, and warm and we rode our bicycles down to Jackson's Corner for breakfast. Mrs Elliott likes Jackson's Corner, says it feels like being in someone's bright big kitchen. I don't care for the place myself: I can never get settled because the tables are massively large and high, none are quite in the right place for me...it just doesn't feel right.

It's a family restaurant in a walking neighborhood, too, so there's always kids of the whining and crying age there; and while family-friendly restaurants are fine when one has kids at that whining and crying age, I see no reason to have to put up with it any longer than absolutely necessary.

But editorializing aside (As if. My reader knows I do little other than editorialize!), we did have a good breakfast at Jackson's C. and then took a turn riding around downtown Bend where the booths were just getting set up for the day.

Mrs Elliott found more interesting things in the booths than I. I think she is not only more curious about what the trinket vendors are selling, but more optimistic that she'll find something worth buying. Might be a female thing, or maybe I'm just a sour old man who has seen more paintings on black velvet than he wishes he ever had.

Which is not to say that I ever see anything that tacky during the fests. There's just never anything that I find that I need, simply have to have, or which charms me enough to stop and admire, much less to buy.

But I tried not to rush her, she enjoys browsing so.

We rode back to the house to prepare for the day's main event: rafting the Deschutes.

We don't have the watercraft I wish we did. In the Old Country I had no motivation to go into the ocean, and open bodies of freshwater are not close enough to make owning anything watercraftish worthwhile. We do have a half dozen of little vinyl boats suitable for children, some seahorse floaties, a Sevylor inflatable tandem kayak which doesn't have a rigid keel so it sags in the middle and doesn't have any back support at all, and a great big inflatable boat that Mrs Elliott bought at GI Joe's before they went out of business.

We decided to take the great big inflatable boat.

Because it's too big to put inside the camper van, and because I didn't want to stand around the hot parking lot up at Riverbend Park inflating the thing, I blew it up here with the shop-vac and strapped it atop the van.

We parked in the dirt parking lot, closer downstream, which is where we put in two years ago when we first arrived at Bend.

But while we were humping the boat that-a-way, someone pointed out that where we put in before is now a dog park and probably not the best place to launch from. So we had to turn around and haul the boat back the path upstream to the boat launch below the new paved parking lot.

It was during this process that that we determined that the boat is more than we could handle: it's too big and too heavy for two old short people to hump around.

Thinking quickly and drawing upon the skills acquired from a lifetime of being a small cute blonde, Mrs Elliott proposed a clever strategy of looking helpless and enlisting the help of others. A young men volunteered to help carry the boat to the launch point.

There's nothing like the robust strength of strapping young people in the prime of their childbearing years to help carry a boat.

The strategy wasn't foolproof, through: At the point above the Colorado Avenue bridge where one must pull ashore and portage if one does not want to be dashed to death on the rapids has a narrow path and no one had the patience or free hands available to help move the thing. We blocked the path for a while while wrestling with paddles, a picnic basket, and that damn big boat.


Once safely landed on the grass area above the path, she approached a young family and waved a fiver, offering to pay for assistance, but that young family laughed and just carried the boat. 


After the portage we switched our seating. We had started out with me in the front  seat, she in the rear seat. This didn't work so well for me. I could not control the boat well with one paddle from up there, and I wanted a lot of control because I'm not comfortable being on water.

"Just let the wind and current carry us," Mrs Elliott said while poking around inside the picnic basket looking for sandwiches and drinks, her paddle shipped.

(Mrs Elliott's head is not filled with visions of being sucked into the rapids nor is she terribly bothered by the idea of drifting into people on floaties with our big damn boat, so it's easy for her to recommend just floating. But I struggled to keep the thing pointed, trying to keep the wind from pinning us against the leeward bank.)

So with the new arrangement with me in the back, I put the paddles into the oarlocks so I could row, which was better, as I enjoyed rowing the thing, even if I was just back-watering.

Mrs Elliott spent much of the time lounging in the bow under her parasol.

And having put the deadly rapids behind us, I was able to relax more and the pleasure of being out in the sun and on the water on such a beautiful day completely outweighed the hassles.

When we got to Drake Park we decided to go all the way to the lower end and catch the shuttle there because the upper bus stop looked crowded. I figured we'd have a better chance of getting the big damn boat in the shuttle trailer if that trailer was empty, rather than already full.

And that was the case. We were the only ones at the lower stop, and we're sending out a word of thanks and commendation to the driver of the shuttle, Barbie, who was very helpful. After we thanked her for her help, she told us to tell her boss. I have no idea what agency she works for!

Afterward, Mrs Elliott said, "I guess we really are old people because so many nice people offered to help us."

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Paseo in Bend, and a Lost Bit of Bend History

Yesterday was warmish, and with Mrs Elliott out of town (she having gone to Dallas or Houston or Fort Worth or one of those dismal humid places for a conference), I reckoned that it would be a good time to pull the air conditioner out of the garage, where it slumbers during the Cold Season, and reinstall it into the window in the living room.

When we put it in last year I was in a wheel chair and not quite the handy man I normally claim to be, so we just filled the frame around the unit with a patchwork of cardboard and masking tape, which worked fine but looked a bit more makeshift than Mrs Elliott likes.

This year I had a custom-cut piece of acrylic made at Bend Glass & Mirror to surround the device and seal the window. And I promptly broke that acrylic sheet into three pieces during installation.

With the breaks craftily hidden with Post-It notes with "I Love You" written in Sharpie pasted over them, I cleaned up the scattered mass of tools, showered, and rode my little red bike and trailer to Drake Park to meet up with some friends for the first Munch and Music of 2010.

A balmy evening, it was, with some of Bend's finest moms and dads, boys and girls, and ladies and gentlemen out enjoying the park, the music, and the other people.

And there were plenty of people. A parade of people. The best part, for me, is watching the people, and our lawn chairs were ideally situated for that: facing one of the park paths, everyone who was anyone passed in front of us at least once,  many several times.

It's quite like a traditional Spanish paseo. The Spanish love their evening strolls: to see and be seen, to greet and to catch up, to seek and perhaps find; here, the young people seemed most intent on seeking and finding, the rest of the crowd seemed content just to stroll.

And we to watch.

Aphrodesia, a San Francisco-based Afro-beat band, played two long sets of Latin pop/funk/jazz with really nice extended, structured jams; while I struggled with the countervailing forces of savory fast food kiosks nearby versus this unfortunately-large waistline even closer.

It didn't help that last night was the first of what is hoped to be a series of prepared-mustard tasting events. Yeah, that sounds weird, but okay: pretzels and mustard were brought. Three mustards, to be precise, and Rold Gold Classic Style Rods pretzels -- "Guaranteed Fresh," it says on the bag. Given the lack of an expiration date, the word "fresh" doesn't mean what most people mean when they use the word "fresh."

Yet these desiccated supermarket offerings might very well be the best that Bend can offer in the pretzel department; and until someone starts making fresh pretzels here, Rold Gold Classic Style Rods threaten to become the standard pretzel used for the future Bend Prezel and Mustard and Marching Band Appreciation Society meetings.

Really, though, a pretzel is just a mustard-delivery system. It's about the mustard. More will be brought for consideration. Someday soon, the King of Mustards will be crowned. Of last evening's mustards, we realized we had tasted just a tiny bit of a much vaster spectrum of prepared mustards.

I also went to the park because of a little bit of Bend history. Hack Bend ended their writeup of the event with this little tid-bit, promising that they would "...have a string “no dog” policy during the event...."

Not many people know that during the 1920's, a craze for all things Incan swept Central Oregon, and in 1924 the city voted to release official documents not just on paper, but using the writing form of ancient Inca: knotted strings, or khipu. (See picture at the top of the page.)

Nearly a hundred of these "talking knots" "documents" were made from February 1924 until the city council came to their senses and abandoned the practice in November of 1925.

As Ian Scuffling of the Deschutes County Historical Society tells it, "Jasper Harriman showed the council how a hangman's noose is knotted and offered to give the mayor a personal demonstration if the council didn't stop the tomfoolery and stop it right now."

Because only a few of these odd "documents" still survive (most having mysteriously vanished in 1927 when the yo-yo craze hit America), I really wanted to see the string “no dog” policy but no one knew where it was.

So I took this picture from the footbridge on my way home:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's With All The Yellow Pages?


Dex? Yellowbook? There was another one we were puzzling over a couple weeks ago, I forget the name. It was larger than Dex and Yellowbook, but seemed to have the same display ads. That one went into Mrs Elliott's office because the kitchen drawer where we keep our telephone directory (along with paper bags, owner's manuals, paint chips, cleaning rags, and other puzzling, useless, but somehow important stuff) is pretty full.

And do we need a telephone directory, after all? Maybe, I argue, the ads are helpful when trying to find a store or contractor or something. The Internets are less-helpful, it seems.

So now upstairs we have this Dex and this Yellowpages cluttering the kitchen counter. We have discussed the matter a couple times already. I'm tempted to just toss one.

Nothing good can come of this.

IN OTHER NEWS, Isabelle Senger (see my previous post) dropped me a note to let me know that she didn't think I was rude when I didn't recognize her at Albertson's. She saw it as an out-of-context meeting, and suggested that if she'd been wearing concert attire (black dress, heels) and had been clutching a violin, I would have recognized her. And she's right. And I would have sucked up because I just do that when I meet talented people.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Senility Strikes Deep

So I'm walking into Albertson's Market on Third Street this morning and see a familiar-looking young woman heading out.

"Hi, Jack!" she says brightly. She's with a guy.

I'm trying to remember her name, I'm drawing a blank while they stand and smile. I'm completely at a loss, I have no freaking clue, and I'm feeling flustered.

I know these people. Why can't I recall their names?

"Where do I know you from?" I blurt.

Polite laughter, like I had told a weak joke.

Fuck. I'm mentally scrambling, trying to find some graceful way to extricate myself from this mess. I notice that she is holding a couple bags, heavy-looking.

"Well, it looks like you have a big load there, I don't want to keep you waiting ... have a nice day!"

She laughs again, and says bye, and I walk into the store, puzzled and feeling like an asshole. Lost in thought, trying desperately to put a name with the face that I so easily recognized, I get halfway to the back of the store before it occurs to me that I didn't even pick up a shopping basket on the way in, and have to walk back to the door to get one.

Even now it's bugging me.

I hope she reads this and drops me a note to clear up my confusion. I hope she doesn't think I was being rude. Simpleminded or old-man-puzzled, that's okay, I can live with that. But rude, no.

Addendum: It just came to me. It was Isabelle Senger of High Desert Chamber Music and her husband. I gotta email her and apologize. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

MOsely WOtta wins, Mrs Elliott and Jack must see

Mrs Elliott and I caught only a part of Mosely Wotta's set at last year's Bend Roots Festival, and while it sounded pretty exceptional, it was but just part of the general excitement and noise of the fest.

And he and his band were setting up to play at the Human Dignity pride celebration at McKay Park last month, but I didn't hang around long enough to hear them.

Ben Salmon writes, "It’s hard for me to imagine living in Bend over the past few years and not being familiar with Mosley Wotta (real name: Jason Graham), given the sheer number and breadth of his endeavors. He teaches, he paints, he hosts events, he wins poetry slams, he works with kids. And, of course, he raps."

This morning we heard that he won Last Band Standing.

Okay, okay -- we have to see him in a "real" venue as soon as possible.

Anyone know their schedule?
 
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